I’ve had the honor of guest posting for some great speech bloggers over the past few months, (like here and here). But today, I’d like to introduce my own guest blogger. My special guest likes to play sports in his spare time, has been playing the piano for the past five years and is an expert when it comes to video games. Oh, and did I mention that he is 10 years old and is super cute? I may be a little biased about the last part, but that’s because he’s my son. I thought it would be a great idea for him to help out his dear old mom this summer by guest posting on my blog. I selected a book for us both to take turns reading. My choice was based on reading level, interest level and subject matter. He’s an advanced reader, however the book is relatively easy reading. It will capture the interest of a young adult/teen readers as well as adults. And the subject matter caught my interest since it is about a child with a disability and communication issues. (I would highly recommend it to all my “speechie friends!!”) I also thought this would be a great way to keep my boy interested in writing during the summer months. He might even purse the possibility of starting his own blog as a way to keep writing fun and interesting! But I’ll stop rambling now and hand the stage over to my guest who can tell you all about this incredible story……
Hi everyone, my name is Joseph. I am guest posting on my mom’s blog about a very interesting book on my summer reading list called Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper.
I am really excited to be doing this because this is my first time guest posting for a blog!! I’ve helped my mom with the recipe videos on her blog, (you can check them out here and here) and now, I’m the one writing my very own post! So let me tell you about this book. (And I guarantee that you’ll be convinced into reading it when you are done reading this review.)
So what happens first in this book is the author introduces an eleven year old girl named Melody Brooks, who has a disability called Cerebral Palsy. But don’t let that fool you because she is very smart—and I mean crazy smart!! She has a photographic memory.
She remembers everything she sees or hears, but it’s all stuck in her head because she can’t talk! She can’t walk or move her arms either! She knows tons and tons of words–and not just the words, but what they mean too. Doctors say that she’ll never be able to learn, but they don’t know just how smart Melody really is. Melody’s parents never talked to her like a baby. They were convinced she was able to learn. Her mother argued with teachers because she knew her daughter was way more advanced than anyone realized. (My mom would be like that too if Melody was her daughter!)
Melody’s mom gets her into a regular school, but she is in a special education classroom. The kids in her class all have severe disabilities but they aren’t smart like Melody. She is frustrated in this class where the teacher teaches the same stuff over and over every day. Melody is going out of her mind!
Melody’s parents work during the day so after school her amazing and really cool neighbor, Mrs. V takes care of her. Mrs. V helps Melody communicate by putting more words, bigger words onto her simple communication board. She makes flash cards with parts of speech and plays lots of different types of music for her—Melody loves music by the way. She says words are like music to her! Mrs. V makes Melody work hard but they have fun too! She never gives up on her. She knows Melody is gifted.
One day, all the special education kids start getting included in the regular music class.
Melody makes a friend named Rose. I thought that was cool, because my mom’s name is Rose, and because both my mom and the Rose in the book are very smart! She gets an aide named Catherine, who helps her eat, and she helps Melody on tests. Well, she doesn’t help her cheat or anything, she just has Melody tap to the right answer since she can’t write. By the way, Melody has full use of her thumbs—she uses them to tap on her board and choose words and pictures.
Oh, and did I mention that Melody’s mom is going to be having a baby named Penny?? Melody worries that Penny will be like her with Cerebral Palsy, but luckily Penny is born a fine, healthy baby. Melody loves her baby sister but she wishes she could be “normal” like her—I can’t blame her. I would feel the same way too!
Melody wants to find a better way to communicate so Catherine starts researching different communication devices. She finds something called the Medi-Talker. With one touch of a button, you can program it to say a full sentence! It’s pretty high-tech. Melody really wanted a Medi-Talker! Her parents decide to buy it and her life changes forever!!! Melody finally finds her voice! Melody and Mrs. V spend hours programming information into the Medi-talker. Melody practices nonstop and then she is ready to try it out at school. Everyone is amazed by the things she is able to now say!!
The school is having tryouts for a quiz team. This team will get a chance to go to Washington D.C. and be on “Good Morning America!” Melody wants to try out for the team, so she does. She studies like crazy with Mrs. V and learns facts about every subject you could imagine. And of course she makes the team—I knew she would, even though lots of the kids in her class and her teacher were totally shocked!
So then, Melody and all the other kids who got the highest percentage right in the class, (one of them was Rose!!) went on to face other schools. Their school won! Now they will get to move on to Washington D.C.
**Okay, here is the spoiler alert….if you read on, you will find out some pretty serious stuff that happened to Melody! If you want it to be a surprise, don’t read this part until after you read the book!**
The day that the quiz team goes to Washington D.C starts off pretty good for Melody. Her family is so excited for her! Her mom packs her stuff, and they go to the airport. But when they get there the woman at the counter says that because of snow there won’t be any more flights leaving. She also said the whole quiz team came early and left on an earlier flight. But they never called Melody to let her know about the change in their plans!
So Melody wasn’t there to help the team. Melody is devastated! The team didn’t do that well—all they got was a dinky little 9th place plastic trophy. I say it serves them right! I couldn’t believe they would leave her—-great friends, right?!
But the next day is even worse. It’s down pouring outside.
Dad is watching Penny but she slips out of the house when he isn’t looking. Mom is taking Melody to school—she is backing the car out of the driveway. Melody screams to warn her mom that Penny is right behind her car, but mom ignores her. I started reading so fast when I got to this next part—-I felt like I was right there screaming with Melody and watching the whole thing happen in front of me! I was really sad when I found out what did happen though… So, accidentally, Melody’s mom ran over Penny. Luckily Penny doesn’t die. She does have a few serious injuries though. But for a while there, they weren’t sure if she was going to be okay—-it was a pretty intense few pages!
The story has a happy ending. Penny comes home from the hospital. Melody learns to write stories on her Medi talker—very well! She uses her thumbs and types her life’s story into the Medi-Talker. The way the story begins, is how it ends.
And even though this book is considered fiction, the disease is real and so are the people who have it!! The lesson I learned from this book is you can’t judge a book by its cover! What I mean by that is even though Melody has a serious disability, it doesn’t mean that she can’t learn to communicate just as well as “normal” kids can. In fact she can do it even better!
Thank you everyone for reading this review. I had so much fun writing this! And now maybe my mom will stop bugging me to finish it. (Sometimes she can be so annoying!) I’m going to get back to my video games now that I have finally finished typing all this. Whew! That broke quite a sweat! And I have a baseball championship game this week too so I’ve got to get my game face on!
**The following is a video we found on you tube. It is a book “trailer” for Out of My Mind. It gives a quick glimpse at what the book is going to be about—and the song is awesome!